I have always viewed dairy as a collective dietary no-no. Since I initially went Paleo and my asthma vanished, I've been resolute that dairy is problematic – and something I should avoid.
Recently however, I've been reading a lot about hard (i.e. cheese) and soft (i.e. milk) dairy. It seems that many people find they can tolerate hard dairy with no issues – yet need to strictly avoid soft dairy.
What’s Wrong With Dairy?
Milk has high levels of the sugar lactose, which appears to be at the root of many of the issues with dairy. Many people are lactose intolerant, so unable to produce the enzyme lactase to break down these milk sugars. The alpha- and beta-casein found in milk also appears to be problematic as do the components casomorphin and butyrophillin.
Raw dairy is significantly better. During Pasturisation the very enzyme – lactase – needed to digest lactose is killed. Conventional wisdom at it’s finest….
The most common issues I read about in relation to dairy are digestive issues. I'm fairly convinced however that dairy is the culprit behind the Asthma that I no longer have. However, it’s hard to be certain. And if it is the culprit, is it the lactose, the casein – or something else entirely?
It seems that the further away dairy is from milk, the lower the levels of lactose – and therefore the more tolerable it appears to be. Fermented dairy – such as a home fermented yoghurt is apparently almost dairy free, so perhaps that might be tolerable too? Even if it is almost lactose free, it still isn't without problems, since the high level of carbohydrates is very insulin promoting.
One of my main concerns with it is the growth factors it contains, like IGF-1. Raw dairy seems to have much lower levels, but it appears Pasteurised dairy could have very high levels. IGF-1 is great for helping a calf to grow quickly; but it’s perhaps not so great if it encourages our cells to grow faster (hence the concern about dairy and cancer cells).
Should I Avoid Dairy?
I think the only way to identify whether dairy is problematic issue is to go for 30 days without any type of dairy, then slowly introduce back in raw dairy only. I'm keen to further experiment by consuming only raw hard cheese to see if this has any effect, before trying raw soft cheese too.
I’d love to hear what you think about dairy and how it impacts you. Do you find you can tolerate different forms, or must you avoid all trace? Finally, if your asthma has also improved or vanished since you went Paleo, I’d be very interested to hear specifically what you think made this happen.